week our Gospel lesson takes us to a mountain top to witness the
Transfiguration: a divine revelation if there ever was one! Throughout Holy
Scripture mountains play a pivotal role in the history of God's people for,
like the desert, they are places of divine revelation.
recounts many “mountain top” experiences. For instance, just as a mountain top was the setting for
the mystery and awe that Jesus' disciples felt as they saw him transfigured
before their eyes; the other two figures that accompanied Jesus in this vision,
Moses and Elijah, each had their own direct encounters with God on a mountain
of you are familiar with the Hollywood account of Moses, AKA Charlton Heston,
who climbed Mount Sinai as a troubled man in early middle age, only to undergo
a transformation from his experience of God on the mountain top. In Cecil B. DeMille's movie "The Ten
Commandments", after Moses encounters God speaking to him through the
burning bush, he proceeds down the mountain, visibly aged, his face aflame, his
hair turned shocking white. On the mountain top, God had revealed God's purpose
to Moses and forever changed him. He was transformed.
prophet Elijah also wandered upon a mountain, searching for God. He endured
mighty acts of nature rather than run for shelter because he figured that God
must be present within the storms that raged about him. God's power was so
awesome, he reasoned, that God could only be found in these extreme
circumstances - in violent flashes of lightening or in the crash of thunder or
in the rush of a mighty wind. But to his dismay, he didn't find God in any of
these dramatic events. Instead, on his
mountain top, when the storms had died down, and the wind had quieted, he had
his mountain top experience, for Scripture tells us that in the quiet that
followed the storm, Elijah found God in a "still, small voice.” Elijah too
was transformed by this experience of God.
stories remind me of a prophet who reflected upon yet another mountain top experience.
On the night before he was martyred, Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of his own
transformation, when, in seeking to do God's will, he dreamed of climbing to
the mountain top, where he could see the promised land open up before him and
the glory of God revealed - a dream that he believed could be achieved.
mountain top experiences are inspiring for us, encouraging each of us to make
that climb up to our own mountain tops
and be transformed; for we undergo great changes when we seek to know God, to
listen for that "still, small voice" and become the people that God
is calling us to be. And we don't have
to go far to find those thin places where we can encounter God and be
transformed; the mountaintop is right here in our own hearts.